Months old poultry sold as ‘fresh’ in Britain

17-12-2007 | | |

Poultry meat in supermarkets and catering outlets is reportedly months old – the thousands of tonnes are being sold as ‘fresh’ poultry in Britain.

An official definition of the term ‘fresh,’ as used on food labels, is being drawn up, amongst the concerns that consumers are purchasing meat that is much older than believed to be. Many of the basted turkey and chicken joints, fillets in sauce or breadcrumbs and packs of chicken sandwiches in shops appear to be fresh. However, with the increasing amount of poultry being imported from Brazil and Thailand, more of it ends up weeks or even months old.

Poultry meat months old
When the poultry reaches Britain, importers can keep cooked meat, uncooked birds and poultry pieces in cold store. Meat in ready meals could be many months old, which may have been thawed and frozen several times – the meat is safe to eat but the information on labels about it’s origin is often unclear.

Support clear labelling and home produce
Food and Farming Minister, Lord Rooker, is supporting the campaign to clarify labelling rules so that consumers do not buy a sandwich made from thawed meat when they think it is fresh. Lord Rooker has asked supermarkets to support home-produced poultry.

He was told by a delegation from the meat production workers’ union, Unite, of the growth of imports. 80% of chicken sandwiches sold by supermarkets were made from imported meat and Britain was the biggest buyer of Thai poultry in Europe – which can only be imported cooked because of measures to prevent avian flu, according to the delegation.
Last year, Britain imported 83,000 tonnes of Thai chicken meat.